Russia is a unique and beautiful land, with many delightful things for you to discover on this this tour by Seagull. We travel by boat, which will be our home for the duration of the tour, to St Petersburg. But first we linger a while in Moscow, the capital city.
Moscow, rich in history, but also a modern city, has many splendid treasures to reveal to the inquisitive traveller.
On a city tour of Moscow we see The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and the Pushkin Museum, as well as the new monument to Peter the Great. We take a stroll through Gorky Park and see the Maiden Convent. We visit the Sparrow Hills, previously known as Lenin Hills, from where we have a spectacular view of Moscow. We also bring a visit to Victory Park on Poklonnaya Gora, or “bow-down hill”, where there are a memorial to the second world war and various other war monuments. The White House museum gives an interesting perspective on modern historical incidents in Moscow.
The highlight of our stay in Moscow, is a visit to the Kremlin. The Kremlin used to be the palace of the Tsars. The central square in the Kremlin is known as Cathedral Square, because it is surrounded by the following buildings: Assumption Cathedral, built in the 15th Century, annunciation Cathedral, the private church of the Russian Czars, and the Cathedral of the Archangel. We also see the graves of the Czars. Two interesting phenomena that are also on display here is the Tsar Bell, the largest in the world, weighing over 200 tonnes, and the Tsar Cannon, which was cast in 1586 and weighing a massive 40 tonnes.
A visit to the State Armoury, one of the finest museums of Moscow is also on the cards.
And so our visit to Moscow comes to an end and we board the ship, which will become our home for the next couple of days, as well as the comfortable vehicle to take us to St Petersburg along the waterways of Russia.
Our first port of call is the town of rare beauty, but of tragic fate, Uglich, founded in 1148. The Cathedral of the Resurrection and St John’s Church fill the horizon as we approach. We stroll through the village and learn more about its history. The seventh wife of Ivan the Terrible spent her last years in exile in this village. Tsarevich Ivanovich, the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible, was murdered in this village. He was 10 years old. We visit the church of St. Dimitri on the Blood. This church was erected in1690 on the place where the Tsarevich was murdered.
It is time to move on, and our next stop is at the small village of Goritsy, on the shore of the Sheksna river. During a bus tour of the village, we visit the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, that is, the Monastery of Cyril of the White Lake, as well as Resurrection Nunnery.
We now aim for Kishi Island, a small island on one of the biggest lakes in Europe, Onega Lake. The whole island is an open air museum under the protection of UNESCO. Here we will an array wooden structures, including churches, chapels, bell towers, houses, etc. In Pogost we will see a truly remarkable example of wooden art, the 22-domed wooden Church of the Transfiguration, built in 1714 by Nestor, without using a single nail. We conclude our visit to Kishi with a visit to the Vodka museum.
St. Petersburg is a fitting climax to our tour of the Russian Waterways. St. Petersburg is also known as the Venice of Russia, which says it all.
We stroll along the Nevsky Prospekt, ths main focus for shopping and entertainment in St. Petersburg since ths mid-18th century. We also go to the Palace Square, the site of “Bloody Sunday”, when troups fired on thousands of unarmed demonstrators in January 1905. It is from here that Lenin’s Bolshevik supporters secured the revolution by attacking the Winter Palace.
We then move on to Vasilevskiy Island, the largest island in the Neva Delta. The Eastern end of the island is known as the Strelka, or “spit”.
Other places of interest are the beautiful buildings of The University Embankment, the main building of the State University St.Petersburg, the Admiralty, the Senate Square and the Bronze Horseman, a magnificent statue of Peter the great. This statue is brought to life in Alexander Pushkin’s epic poem of 1833, The Bronze Horseman.
We then admire St. Isaac’s Square, dominated by the grandiose Cathedral of St. Isaac, designed by by the architect Auguste de Montferrand, followed by the Field of Mars, previously used as ‘n military exercise and parade ground, but today it is a peaceful open area. Then we go to see the summer gardens and the Cruiser Aurora, which signalled the storming of the Winter Palace by firing a single blank round from its bow gun, at 09:40 on 25 October 1917, thus starting the October Revolution.
Our visit to St. Petersburg, and to Russia, is concluded by a climax par excellence, a visit to the Hermitage museum, one of the largest museums in the world. You will not see all of the 2700000 items in their catalogue, but you will see masterpieces by artists like Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Rubens, Rodin, the French Impressionists and many more.
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